Sunday, September 4, 2016

Shifts and Signifiers and Seizing the Day

We spent a chunk of yesterday with a couple notarizing their end-of-life documents.  My spouse got his notary's license for a job he got when we first moved here, and we've kept renewing it.  We may do more with it at some point--a few years ago, when same-sex marriage first became legal, we thought we might do more with marriage ceremony creation, but as with many of our good ideas, we just had no time for follow-through.

Let me record here, while I'm remembering, that there are many monetizing potentials with the notary license.  But that's not really what I want to write about.

I am struck, as I so often am, by the ways that an event like yesterday's signifies a much larger shift.  I remember in my last year of grad school, I went up to visit my parents, who at that time were in their early 50's.  I went to a concert with my parents, and then we all met up with a group of their friends for dessert.  The topics discussed mostly revolved around issues of what to do with aging parents. 

It was refreshing, in an odd way, to be away from the "How will we find our first teaching jobs?" discussions that I routinely had with my grad school friends.

Yesterday, as we discussed last wills and testaments and medical directives, we also talked about the grown children of one of the people come to the house to sign the documents as witnesses.  Those grown children are trying to follow the schedule they'd set up for themselves about the first pregnancy. 

I remembered the first time I had a friend who got pregnant on purpose--before that, the few pregnancies of friends were not happy occasions, at least not at first, and I remembering asking, "What will you do?"

My friend with the first planned pregnancy said, "Have the baby, of course."  And now those children are old enough to get married and have children of their own.

Yesterday, I said, "Just think, once we might have all gathered together for a baby shower for one of us, and now we're here to talk about end-of-life stuff."

There was some talk about when it was possible to conceive without medical intervention, and we agreed that we were all beyond that point (I was the youngest, at the age of 51).  Discussion then went on to nutrition, the benefits of soy protein powder vs. whey or pea.  I said that in my 30's, when I first started using soy protein, I worried about the extra estrogens--and now, I didn't worry so much.  One of us said, "Yeah, some extra estrogen might be helpful."

After we got all the signing and notarizing done, we went to Anthony's to enjoy beer and wine and pizza made in a coal-fired oven.  It was a lovely afternoon, although strange to say that about an afternoon that brought us together over end-of-life documents.

But maybe that's exactly the shift we need.  We're none of us getting younger, and although I hope I still have many good decades ahead of me and the rest of us, we may not.  It was good to remember to seize the day, while it's still ours to seize.

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